Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Are You Lukewarm?

I absentmindedly grabbed my coffee cup for that one last sip before I finished loading the dishwasher.   Yuck!  That was sip wasn't hot.  It wasn't cold.   It was lukewarm.  

It was yet another reminder from the Lord of what I have been studying.    " I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."   Revelation 3:15-16

I have been stuck on this verse for about two weeks now.     As I started reading and studying this I ran across Francis Chan's description of a lukewarm Christian.    Have you ever read it?    After you read this you will know why I have been stuck on this concept and challenge for the past two weeks.

by Francis Chan

1. Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go. Isaiah 29:13

2. Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so, After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? 1 Chronicles 21:24, Luke 21:1-4

3. Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. Luke 6:26, Revelation 3:1, Matthew 23:5-7 4.

4: Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. John 10:10, Romans 6:1-2.

5. Lukewarm people are moved by stories of people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers. James 1:22, James 4:17, Matthew 21:28-31

6. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. Matthew 10:32-33

7. Lukewarm people gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. Luke 18:11-12

8. Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives, their money, and their thoughts, but he isn’t allowed to control their lives. Luke 9:57-62

9. Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; its only for pastors and missionaries and radicals. Matthew 22:37-38

10. Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love for others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is a little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, who kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. Matthew 5:43-47, Luke 14:12-14

11. Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. Luke 18:21-25

12. Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever do they intently consider the life to come. Philippians 3:18-20

13. Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. Matthew 25:34, 40, Isaiah 58:6-7

14. Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without requiring too much of them. 1 Chronicles 29:14, Matthew 13:44-46

15. Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them sacrificing and risking for God. Matthew 10:28

16. Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America.

17. Luke warm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them—they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live—they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis-their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. Luke 12:16-21

18. Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Matthew 23:25-28, Luke 14:34-35

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nothing Says Summer Like...

... Shoving all the school curriculum onto their appropriate shelves and throwing away all the used workbooks.

... Packing the game drawer.  I don't know what normal families use their end table for, but in our house it is just another place for games.   During the school year I keep logic games for the boys to choose from, but now that school is over I have cleaned all of that out and have restocked.    You can find card games like Phase 10, UNO, Scrabble Slam and Slap.    There are also games like Bananagrams, Rummicube, Dominoes and Rack-O.    After Christmas I pick up daily calendars which feature puzzles.  I keep stacks of these in the drawer too so that the boys can play Hangman or word games.    

... My husband says he knows it is summer when I make his favorite frozen orange salad.  He loves it.   I made one last night and put it in the freezer.   Every night after supper he will pull it out and get a piece until it is gone.  

Donald's Favorite Frozen Orange Salad

60 Ritz crackers, finely crushed
1/4 lb. margarine, melted
1/4 cup sugar
zest of one orange
1 (6 ounce) can unsweetened frozen orange juice
1 (12 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
8 ounce carton Cool Whip, thawed

Mix together the crushed crackers, margarine, zest of one orange and sugar. Reserve a few crumbs for garnish and press remaining crackers into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Blend thawed orange juice with condensed milk. Fold in mandarin oranges and thawed Cool Whip. Pour mixture over crust. top with reserved crumbs. Freeze until serving. Return to freezer to store.

... Sitting outside with the boys at night until we can't stand the mosquitoes anymore.

... The "summer list".   We haven't started the summer list, but we are going to get to it soon!

What says summer to you??

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Reading

I love summer reading.   Nothing takes the fun out of summer more than "required" summer reading.   I hate seeing those stacks and stacks of lists that schools require kids to read over the summer.   I love to read and I have no desire to read some of those.  

There is so much that the boys are required to read during the school year that I just want to encourage them to read for pure love during the summer.    If I can create a lifetime love of reading in them then I will feel like I have accomplished something.

Here are a few summer reading programs which will reward the kids for their reading efforts.... 

Madison County Library System - Our local library system theme is "Dream Big... Read!"   I am not a fan of their reading program because it doesn't reward everyone who reads.  It only gives you a chance at a reward.   The reward is great -- a NOOK, but I prefer rewarding every child who reads instead of just one.

Barnes & Noble - Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal (PDF).Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store. Choose a FREE BOOK from the selection on the Reading Journal list at the store... Enjoy reading!

Scholastic Summer Reading - Log in your reading minutes to the Scholastic site and your child will be able to participate in a World Record challenge as well as earn digital prizes!

Half Price Books - Read for at least 15 minutes each day for a month. (Grown-ups may read aloud to kids who are still learning.) Add up your minutes and have your parent or guardian initial each week.Once you've read 300 minutes, turn in your completed reading log PDF to earn your $5 HPB Back-to-School Bucks reading reward for the month.  They will award one top reader per age group each month with a TOP READER prize - a $20 HPB Gift Card!*

Happy Reading!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Little Guy: Finished With 5th

Talk about shock.    My Little Guy is finished with his elementary school years and will be entering middle school next year.    One in high school and one in middle school.    Time doesn't just fly fast it flies at warp speed!

His Course Load:

Math - Little Guy has been working through two of the Life of Fred mathematics series.   He completed book the fractions book and the decimals and percentages book.     

Zoology -  Our homeschool co-op offered this class.   He loved taking this with all of his friends.   Just last week they took an end of year field trip to New Orleans.   They visited the Audubon butterfly garden, the Insectarium and the Aquarium.

Writer's Express - A curriculum that introduces writing skills.   It covered everything from poetry, essays, letters, reports, stories, journaling, and note taking.

American History -  Little Guy did a biography study of great men of US history.   

English/Grammar -  We have been using Easy Grammar forever, but this year I added this English Grammar 101.   

Spelling -  Being a part of the spelling bee is the primary focus of our spelling curriculum.   I firmly believe that reading encourages better spelling which is why I insist on daily reading.  

Reading - One of my big goals for Little Guy this year was in reading.  He has an amazing reading level, but he never wanted to read on his reading level.   When he looked at a book, if it looked too big he let it overwhelm him.     My friend in Atlanta made a casual statement about organizing lesson plans that sparked an idea for me with his reading.    I picked a book and gave him two weeks to read it (which is really a long time).   I divided the pages by 14 and listed that on a piece of paper and taped inside the front cover of the book.   Each day he read a section of pages and marked it off.    He could read more than one section if he wanted, but he had to mark it off.   By giving him "bite size" pieces, he realized that it was more doable than he thought.    Now handing him a 350 page book isn't overwhelming to him at all.   He asks when his deadline is and he breaks it down in his head.      He is often done in just a day or two, but he likes knowing that he has a set amount of time if he needs it.

Music Theory - Another class which he took through CurrClick, both boys took this class of basic music concepts.    It gave them basic musical knowledge of notes, clefs, time signatures, notes of the piano, accidentals, half and whole steps, etc... 

Geography - This hasn't been a curriculum as much as a book which Little Guy has worked on to keep working on his geography skills.  

P.E. -   Little Guy also took bowling club and 4H shooting sports.   He also participated in CrossFit.   He LOVES it!   

This is our third year to homeschool and definitely the most challenging for Little Guy and I.   I take full responsibility for that.    Big Guy's learning style comes more naturally to me and it is easier for me to figure out how to give him what he needs academically where as that is not so with Little Guy.     He and I can ask each other the same exact question, but mean two entirely different things.    I have flashbacks to doing Algebra with my Daddy in the 7th grade.  *smile*   The only problem is I am still the dummy in the situation.   Daddy is brilliant and now I have just replaced Little Guy in the equation as the brilliant one!

I am not complaining though.  I am glad he is so smart, but as we all know, school only gets more challenging from here!  

Although it makes me sad to see how fast time is passing, I can't wait to see where God is leading my sweet boys!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Big Guy's Speech

Today was Big Guy's final in his communication class.    He had to prepare two speeches.    I wish you could have seen his teacher's face after he gave this speech.    She is a tough teacher.    She is a retired college professor and she teaches our kids like they are college students.     Her words were, "Big Guy, you have always been one of my quiet students, but your work has been solid.   Whenever you decide to talk the entire class stops to listen because what you have to say is quality.   Today's speech is no exception."

When I was a child, I was taught a song called "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock".  It says the wise man built his house upon the rock while the foolish man built his house upon the sand.   Although a simple childhood song, it is easy to make the transition to the more complicated topic of creation and evolution, with creation being the solid rock and evolution being the sinking sand.

You don't have to go far for people to tell you that there is no God and that a big bang created our existence.  The big bang alleges that billions of years ago the entire universe was packed in a little ball.   At some random point it exploded.  One of the problems is that scientists have no idea where this ball came from.  Creationism builds its facts starting with the book of Genesis which states the entire earth was created in a six day period.  If you look around you will see animals, trees, the sky and ground.  None of this happened because of two planets colliding or because of some big bang.   All of this happened because it was the will of God.  Thinking that a big bang could produce a mass of earth that just happened to be suitable for life is like thinking a tornado can go through a junkyard and assemble a Transformer.   In order for this to actually happen, the things needed for this to work have to be man made, the process happens an infinite amount of times causing no beginning or end to time and the laws of physics are broken in the process.   It can't happen.

The second challenge in our evolution verses creation discussion comes from the origin of man.  Genesis 1:26 makes the creation foundation clear.    Man was created in the image of God.   The theory of evolution states that man gradually evolved from lower animals.   This is where big bang and evolution start to collide.  It is a proven scientific fact that life comes from life and science has disproved the theory of spontaneous generation.  Then the question is how the first living thing happened like evolution claims.  The creation side to all this is that we were created in God's image.

The last point in our evolution verses creationism discussion and what this all boils down to in this sinking sand solid rock discussion is do you or do you not believe the universe was created by God?  To believe in creation is to believe in the one true God who is the creator.   Believing in the universe means that He must be older than the universe.  Isaiah 40:28 says, "The everlasting God is the creator of the ends of the earth."   If God is the creator then God has created all life.   As we established before, life comes from life which means our creator God must be eternal.

God gave us clear instructions to follow, but we stepped off the Solid Rock in favor of an educated guess.  Christians read the Bible, fell in love with our Creator and believed.   The proof is in the love.   If you love someone in your life, do you believe them?   Of course you do.   It is how we are wired by Him.  The battle between creationism and evolution is not necessarily about facts or the evidence because we are both dealing with the same set of facts.   The difference is in how we interpret them.   This is how these two beliefs began.   We interpreted what we had as something other than what He intended.   In the end we can't make someone believe in something.   They can either choose the solid foundation of creation or they can choose the sinking sand of evolution.    To believe in something you have to have faith and faith is what this is all about.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Big Guy: End of Freshman Year

*sniff sniff*  It was hard for me to type that title and not get a little choked up.    Big Guy's first year of high school is just days away from being finished.   Right now he is in the other room putting the finishing touches on his Communications final which is tomorrow.    At the beginning of this year, I had feelings of sheer terror about whether or not I could homeschool him through high school.   I can say that those feelings have only diminished slightly as this year has reaffirmed to me just how challenging and important these high school years are going to be.

I wanted the chance to sit down and write down some things about this past year.   I know that he and I will both want to look back and remember that we survived this freshman year!

His Course Load:

Algebra 1 - We tackled this at home with a curriculum we purchased called Teaching Textbooks.  

Biology -  This class was taken online with CurrClick.com through a professional teacher, Debbie Mackin, who offered the Apologia Academy Biology course.    He went to online lectures once a week and had to submit all of his assignments to her.   Even his tests were taken online and she graded them.   Loved this!    To complete the lab requirements, he went to Millsaps for a lab class with Dr. Paul.

Communication/Speech - There is no doubt that this is the hardest class that Big Guy has had this year.   It is taught by a retired college professor.   She is TOUGH!    However, she has taught Big Guy a valuable life skills:  "You don't have to like something to do it well."

Latin - Out of all our classes, this is the one I am still trying to figure out.   We chose Visual Latin for this class.    He likes it, but I need to make sure he is progressing correctly.  It has been a LONG time since high school Latin for me.

Mississippi History - We ordered the MS history textbook written by a professor at the University of Mississippi.    It was recommended to us by our pediatrician.    In addition to completing this textbook, Big Guy had to complete a major Mississippi project for this class and take a test which included labeling all the counties of Mississippi.  

Mississippi Literature/Writing - All of Big Guy's literature and English was tied into his Mississippi history.  

Music Theory - Another class which he took through CurrClick, both boys took this class of basic music concepts.    It gave them basic musical knowledge of notes, clefs, time signatures, notes of the piano, accidentals, half and whole steps, etc... 

P.E. -  Between bowling club and 4H shooting sports, it was no problem meeting the PE requirements this year.

I am sitting here looking at him working at his desk and I realize just how much he has grown this past school year in so many ways.   He has changed so much physically.  He is now so much taller than I am and his voice is becoming deeper and deeper.    He has always been a very introspective and shy person; however, I have seen him step out of his shell this year.    Big Guy is the kind of person who would do anything for you if you asked, but he isn't going to jump out there and say, "Hey, I will do it."   I have even seen that change a little.    He has been a part of the audio/visual team at our church for the past three years and recently he has begun asking to go over extra days to help with certain projects.    I like seeing him step out of his comfort zone and do things for others.   

I love being his Mom.   The older he gets the more I love and admire him for the man he is becoming.   I love watching God mold him into who He wants him to be.   I can't wait to see where God takes us next on this amazing journey.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Clever Poster

I saw this poster on Facebook this morning.  LOVE IT!!   This article said it was created by a non-profit group called Burning Through the Pages.     This is definitely clever marketing!